AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Archive for the ‘Student Posts’ Category

Pizza Anyone?! : There’s an App for that

Posted by jn5464a on August 6, 2014



PushForPizza is a pizza lover’s dream! Created by two 19-year old boys, the app does one simple thing; orders pizza. With three simple steps,determining your location, price range and pizza preference,s a pizza is delivered to your front step within minutes.

According to the Huffington Post, the app is similar to the social media “one hit wonder” “Yo” (the app that sends messages to your friends using the simple phrase “yo”). how original. Much like “Yo”, PushForPizza is life in it’s simplest form.  While it’s convenient and rather tasty, I personally feel that these apps only add to the world’s insane dependency on technology.  Additionally, I feel that it is reflective of the “lazy” and “in a hurry” mentality and stereotype that Americans have developed.

Even so, that’s what apps are for right; to make things easier?  Well it’s done just that and it seems to be getting a pretty big response.  Check out their youtube commercial (#PushForPizza) below:

#PushForPizza   <——Push me.

So pizza lovers, What do you think? Are app creations becoming a waste of time and effort; are they still effective or is their credibility dwindling?  I would love to hear your thoughts.


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Women’s empowerment?: Lego releases female scientist playset

Posted by jn5464a on August 6, 2014

“I am 7 years old and I love legos but I don’t like that there are more lego boy people and  barely any lego girls”.

The viral spread of a seven-year old girl’s suggestion to Lego, has sparked the development of the company’s newest playset featuring a female palentoligist, astronomer and chemist created by real-life geoscientist, Ellen Kooijman. This example is a strong representation of the power of monitoring social media and mentions to observe the company profile in the eyes of the consumer.  Additionally, this is reflective of successful rebranding and tweaking one’s message to appeal to a wider demographic.

I personally feel that this is a great opportunity for other companies to learn. Women are a highly sought after demographic and targeting young women specifically will help to expand the company’s image as well as the minds of little girls around the country. Move over Mattel, there’s a new barbie in town.

Three months after the little girl spoke out, Lego took to twitter to spread the launching of the new set.  Take a look :


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Japan’s robots are reading your emotions

Posted by jn5464a on August 6, 2014



You don’t have to speak a word to get your meaning across”- just walk.

Last month, Japanese and French scientists discovered an emotion recognition algorithm that can analyze one’s emotions simply by their ‘gait’ or walk.   These discoveries will be used to enhance  robot and human transactions. Though the robots have yet to be brought to the U.S platform, they have become a main source for information that will help to increase future advancement of machines as ‘caregivers and companions’.

The algorithm found, bases human interactions off of five emotions: neutral, happiness, anger, sadness and fear. The studies tested 20 people finding that speed and posture are two key factors in conveying how one feels. Though the study originally sought to build robot companionship, researchers feel that the discoveries can attribute to robots becoming more “human like” so that they too can express their feelings.

Sounds a little like I am Legend to me.

What are your thoughts?

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Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014


Gilad Lotan, chief scientist at betaworks and author of the blog i love data, has created a new data visualization that shows how the biggest source of misinformation about the conflict in Gaza is ourselves. While the polarizing phenomenon of open media isn’t new– the idea that we are provided so much media from so many nuanced sources, and we choose which ones to read and believe based on pre-existing beliefs– its negative effects can be multiplied dramatically when there is a major crisis that may depend on the world’s perception, and how they lend their support.

When different media is reporting different truths, or excluding specific aspects of the truth, or simply not reporting the truth at all, we are creating a false world for ourselves, but one that we believe. Conviction can drive people to do incredible things, but false conviction can be incredibly dangerous. I have no hypothesis for how this will affect Palestine, but I’m really afraid of a world that is so polarized around disparate facts and figures that they can both believe they are right, when both are misinformed.

Lotan goes into great depth on his blog about how Israel, Palestine and the U.S. are all getting very different perceptions through the media, both official and social. It’s insane how many separate worlds the Internet can create, when we really only have the one.

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Cartoonist Uses DMCA to Censor Criticism

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

Randy Queen is a comics artist who knows… which parts of the female form his viewers like to see. When Queen illustrates these views, he often contorts the bodies of the already-exaggerated women into impossible poses. Queen received criticism for his art from the Tumblr blog Escher Girls, which is dedicated to  superheroine poses that warp spacetime, such as those by Randy Queen (shown below).



Queen, who apparently didn’t appreciate the criticism, has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act– a legal tool that is supposed to be used to protect copyright infringement– to get posts of his work, re-drawings of his work, and posts that depict his work for the purposes of criticism removed from Tumblr. If this use of the law wasn’t questionable enough, after the Escher Girls made a blog post sharing that they given notices to take down the posts that included Queen’s work, he followed the notices up with threats of defamation.

I don’t want to get into the minutiae of why criticism is fair use, Techdirt did a good write-up that covers the legal aspects of this situation, but I’m disgusted at the misuse of laws such as this. I strongly believe that people should retain ownership over their intellectual property, but there is no “right to protect the perception of my IP,” which was Queen’s reasoning to sue the Escher Girls for defamation. If you do something that makes you seem sexist, or at the very least ignorant, that is the result. No copyright law should be used to help bigots perpetuate their bigotry and cover up free, transparent criticism. If the internet allows this precedent to be set, then it’s the beginning of the end of a democratic Internet.


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OpportunitySpace Aims to Make Municipal Development Social

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

OpportunitySpace, a start-up developed by Harvard students Cristina Garmendia and Alexander Kapur that is nearing the end of its time incubating in the Harvard Innovation Lab, is trying to help small municipalities market their real-estate portfolios, particularly their less-desirable locations that tend to sit stagnant. These locations prevent the municipality from benefiting from the land, business are prevented from developing and citizens and generally left with eyesores of real estate.

OpportunitySpace creates a public database of these properties that includes size, value, delinquent taxes and geographical location. The social aspect of OpportunitySpace is that it opens up the development market to many more individuals. Only a handful of people in any given area know how to effectively deal with a municipality and benefit from developing in the city. This service opens up the competition to small businesses and individuals who have the resources and can use this site, but don’t necessarily know how to deal with the government. This also creates much more transparency about what the location is, who is buying it and for how much.

The site also helps cities by offering their service at a fairly small fee, with most of the money coming from the private sector. Similar tools that exist now, such as CoStar and LoopNet, are very expensive for small municipalities. This can be another huge barrier that leads to these locations being useless for even longer

Municipal development is a fairly shady business, and a movement to bring development power back towards the community, and with much more transparency, is a good movement in my book. Keep watching OpportunitySpace as it gets rolled out to more municipalities over the next few months.

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Tweeting Terminator: Typo to title

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

It was recently announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be in, and involved with, the next film in the long-running Terminator franchise. It was previously leaked that this movie may be titled Terminator: Genesis.  Just an hour ago, at the time of writing, Arnold Instagrammed the photo featured below (Okay, so I sort of lied in the title, but the Instagram photo was tweeted, and I really like alliteration. Fun fact, this is actually the shortened version).













It says Terminator Genisys. It doesn’t even have a colon. When Schwarzenegger’s involvement was announced, some were unsure what this meant about the movie. Is the aging actor and politician really ready for another action movie? With a painful typo in the title, not a brand new thing in sci-fi but still not necessary, it’s hard to tell what could be going well with this movie.

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Tools for Amateurs in Social Media Measurement

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

One of the most useful parts of social networking services, for companies and brand managers, is the insanely large quantity of data being collected on users’ behavior, both as a whole and with specific brands. Knowing what numbers to look at, and how to get them, can be a difficult first step when starting out, though. Below are three tips for an amateur, from an amateur, about how to find and look at interesting metrics for your brand, for free.

1. There’s more than just magnitude 

Yes, you can use social media metrics to assess the magnitude of visitors or followers you have. But magnitude without context means almost nothing. Do any smaller brands have active communities sharing their content? Perhaps that is more desirable. Focus on looking at how magnitude changes over time, to show gross, loss or stagnation.

2. Follow where your links go

As links get shared around the internet, they can usually be tracked. A really good way of assessing your users’ behaviors is by watching how they share your content, and with whom. Services like TweetReach can give you more in-depth information for specific tweets than other metric tools. Another good tool for sharing is using links. Not only are these links shorter, convenient for Twitter, every click and share is tracked after you create one.

3. Cast a wide net of assessment

Don’t engage on just one social media network, and don’t assess your brand on just one social media network. Look at them all. More than that, look at your competitors. Using a service like HowSociable, you can compare your brands performance on multiple networks, and it will help you assess strengths and weaknesses. Take careful notes about where you are failing, and where your competitors are failing. Those are also your biggest areas of opportunity.

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Video Games Beginning to Embrace the Second Screen

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

Nearly everyone who uses Twitter has, either in-the-moment or afterwards, interacted with the second-screen experience for a television broadcast. Be it the live tweeting of a political event, discussions about twists in a popular drama or exclamations during a sporting event, people are expanding their experience with that content to another device and another form of media. In this case, they are moving to social media.

Some companies have begun to get ahead of the audience, providing hashtags for easy discussion. The 2014 World Cup is probably the best example, with each game and team having their own hashtags. The greatest effect these experiences have for the content creator is that it keeps the user engaged with your content, even after they are done experiencing it. It makes sense, then, that game developers also want to get a piece of that fan engagement.

The first wave of second-screen experiences were unexciting and useful for little more than tracking statistics in online matches. As time goes on and technologies become more and more similar, this is changing.

Video game players are now getting iOS apps that communicate with Playstation and Xbox game servers, and even some apps that allow mobile users to challenge console users in real-time. The best example of this may be from one of this year’s biggest titles, Watch_Dogs, a game that revolves around a vigilante with the ability to hack into nearly anything with a wireless connection. The mobile app allows an iPad user to control the police and attempt to capture the console player, who wins if he can evade the police long enough. Both players get very unique experiences, and the winner gets points that contribute to the player’s level in competitive multiplayer. It’s a dynamic experience for the console player, and it allows the mobile player to be a part of the Watch_Dogs world and make progress when they are not able to play the game.

The left screen shows the mobile app, while the right screen shows the Watch_Dogs console game, and they are competing against each other in real time.

The left screen shows the mobile app, while the right screen shows the Watch_Dogs console game, and they are competing against each other in real time.

Bungie has a different take on the second screen experience, but one that will keep users just as engaged. Bungie’s upcoming game Destiny is one of the most expensive games ever made, when you take development and marketing into account, and the publisher is going to want a long lifespan for the game so that it continues to make returns on that investment. The game is designed to be more or less endless, which helps, but the second-screen app is another solid attempt to make the experience more accessible, and in more places.

As a gamer, I want to be able to engage these worlds in meaningful ways when I’m at a relative’s, or stuck on a train. As developers, these companies should want me engaged for weeks and months. If I stay engaged, I won’t sell their game (which effectively prevents the publisher or developer from ever making money off of that copy of the game again) and I may spend more money down the line on additional content. Twitter is currently the home of second-screen experiences, but I would like to see a world where entertainment content can blur the lines between these multimedia experiences.

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Swipe Left for Jobs

Posted by Ben Gregson on August 6, 2014

This isn’t a judgement post. Well, that’s a lie, but it isn’t judging young social daters. It’s judging social job-hunting app Jobr.

Most smart phone users are, by now, familiar with the growing number of social dating apps, each with their own focus. The most popular ones, such as Tindr and Grindr, have a strong focus on images, with users making matches purely on a scale of, “Yes I think they are attractive,” or, “No I do not think they are attractive.” Some users may have a more in-depth selection process than this, but the app certainly doesn’t request you make that leap. It’s simple, easy and very of-the-time for young mobile users; it makes sense that this style of app is being used less for social dating and more for casual fun times.

The stories about how these apps are used has definitely given this kind of app a brand image, and that image isn’t exactly synonymous with professionalism. This is why I find it so strange that Jobr is attempting to sell itself as a job-hunting app using the Tindr model, even if that is the goal. Perhaps they never brought the comparison intentionally, but they did choose to name the app and company Jobr, which not only looks like the social dating apps but also sounds innately sexual. The app has had some modest success, but it doesn’t matter to me how good the service is. I can’t get over the strange choice of brand alignment, and I could see an almost identical service with a more professional image pulling the rug out from under Jobr before they take off.


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